Bible Pathways in Picture and Word

The MARK of the BEAST 

 Revelation 13:16-18  

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

  

 There are many theories and speculations that abound today regarding this mysterious “Mark” of 666. 

 


Some believe that it is a microchip under the skin or a bar code on products or even a tattoo in a person’s forehead.

 But there are some problems with these interpretations that do not hold up under close scrutiny.


For one thing, it is quite possible for someone to pin a person to the ground and forcefully implant a chip in their skin even against their will. 

It is also possible to do the same and give them a tattoo or a bar code.  

 That tells me that it cannot be the Mark of the Beast – because at some point, you will not have control over whether they give it to you or not! 

But Revelation 13 implies that though there will be forceful persuasion, bribery, and deception taking place – each person will still have the choice whether they will accept the Mark of the Beast or not - for some refuse to receive it (Rev. 15:2, Rev 20:4). The Mark of the Beast is something that, in rebellion to God, each person on earth (those who accept it) will make the conscious choice/decision in their mind to accept (represented by the ‘frontal lobe’ or critical mind - “forehead” – Rev. 13:16Jer. 3:3) or they will just go along with it, for convenience sake, by their actions (represented by the hand – Rev. 13:16, Eccl. 9:10). 

They will have to choose whether they will take the right way or the easy way. The right way will lead them to reject the Mark and they will be sentenced to death (Rev. 13:15). The wrong way (receiving the Mark) will enable them to buy and sell (carry on life as usual) (Rev. 13:16, 17).

You will find that many books and studies have been produced which identify what this “Mark” constitutes, with many interesting details – but in this study, I am simply pointing out a few points, basically just a brief summary, of this important topic.

First notice that there are three separate items – the Mark, the Name, and the Number – here we are only dealing with the “Mark”.

Now the Bible is the Word of God and as such – it always interprets itself! So instead of speculating and trying to concoct our own ideas of what the Mark of the Beast is, we should let the Bible tell us itself!


 

You will notice, by reading through Revelation 13, that the issue is about “worship” – and this would agree with the other parallel passages in scripture. Ever since man was created and fell into sin, the tests have continually been over the issue of who we are going to choose to “worship” – God or Satan! This was Eve’s test in Eden – who she would believe and obey – God or Satan. She chose “Self” which is what Satan uses to entice us to follow him!

 


Now the Bible describes two beasts in Rev. 13. 

The first beast comes out of the sea and it has seven heads and ten horns. It is a composite beast having parts of a leopard, a bear, and a lion, and it receives its power and authority from the dragon.

 To begin to understand what God is telling us here, we should look to see where in His Word He talks about a beast coming out of the sea – and we find that this is a parallel passage to Daniel chapter 7

(You will discover that the book of Daniel is the key that unlocks the book of Revelation)

In Daniel 7, we see 4 beasts that are coming out of the sea, a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a terrible beast (maybe like a dragon?). You can see the parallels to Revelation 13’s first beast.

The sea represents populated areas, places with many people (Rev. 17:15).

Daniel 7 describes these 4 beasts and their characteristics – then in Daniel 7:17,23 it identifies these beasts as kingdoms or what we would call “Political Powers”. By comparing the characteristics of these kingdoms, we see that they are the same kingdoms that are described by the metals in the image of Daniel chapter 2.

(Head of Gold/Lion = Babylon; Breast of Silver/Bear = Medo Persia; Belly of Brass/Leopard = Greece; Legs of Iron/Terrible beast = Rome)


(Head of Gold/Lion = Babylon; 

Breast of Silver/Bear = Medo Persia; 

Belly of Brass/Leopard = Greece; 

Legs of Iron/Terrible beast = Rome)

 So if you carry all this symbolism over to the book of Revelation, we find that the first beast of Revelation 13 has the body of a leopard (Greece) the feet of a bear (Medo Persia) the mouth of the lion (Babylon) and it gets its power, seat, and authority from the dragon (Rome). In other words, this “beast” (kingdom/political power) is composite – it is incorporating the different characteristics of the kingdoms before it – it is blending them together into one power.

 

Now these individual characteristics are really fascinating. 


 Feet in the Bible represent a person’s actions, the way a person walks (Psalm 119:101,105), so the feet of Medo Persia (bear) would be the characteristics of the actions of Medo Persia. What type of actions was Medo Persia known for?

Unchangeable Law! Laws that could not be changed. (Dan. 6:8,15)


In the Bible, the mouth represents speech, it is how a person talks (Exodus 4:15,16), so the mouth of Babylon (Lion) would be the characteristics of the talking/speech of Babylon. What type of speech is Babylon known for?

Pride (self) and Blasphemy (Dan. 4:30; Rev. 17:3-5)


In the Bible, the body can represent teachings/doctrines (Matt. 26:26; John 1:14), so the body of Greece (Leopard) would be the characteristics of the teachings/doctrines of Greece. What type of teachings is Greece known for?

Greek philosophy, higher criticism!

 

Notice these historical quotes from the book Story of Daniel the Prophet printed in 1901:


 “The history of Greece is the history of physical and intellectual culture. The people admired grace and beauty, and her literary minds worshiped the intellect. Plato, the greatest of Greek philosophers, lived four hundred years before Christ, and his teachings have led the thoughts of writers in every age since then. The Jews mingled the teachings of the Bible with the philosophy of Plato, and that formed the traditions of men, against which Christ so often warned his followers. The false philosophy, and the "science falsely so called" of Paul's time, was Greek teaching, which breathed the spirit of Plato and his students…" p.183

"Paganism and Christianity met on the battlefield when Constantine contended for the throne of Rome; paganism and Christianity met in more deadly conflict in Alexandria, where Christian and pagan schools stood side by side. Here it was that such men as Origen and Clement, recognized Fathers of the church, adopted the philosophy of the Greeks, and applied to the study of the Bible the same methods which were common in the study of Homer and other Greek writers. Higher criticism had its birth in Alexandria. It was the result of a mingling of the truths taught by Christ and the false philosophy of the Greeks. It was an attempt to interpret divine writings by the human intellect, a revival of the philosophy of Plato.”  p.229

 Also notice that this Rev. 13 beast (political power) is also a religious power that claims worship (Rev. 13:4).

 So this first beast/kingdom/political power of Rev. 13 has these characteristics.

It is a religious-political power

It arises from a populated area.

It receives a deadly wound, is healed, and the whole world wonders after it. (Rev. 13:3)

It claims that it doesn’t change.

It speaks pride and blasphemy.

It teaches higher criticism & Greek philosophy.

It displays intolerance for those who follow and obey the true God (Rev. 13:7).

And it received its power and authority and its seat (headquarters/capital) from Pagan Rome.



 

There is only one “religio-political power” that can fit that description, and that is Papal Rome, otherwise known as the Papacy.


 Is the Papacy a religious & political power? Yes!

“The Protestant denominations, moreover, never achieved the sweeping breadth of unified religio-political power that the Roman Church had at its apex.” The Theology of Suffering and Death: An Introduction for Caregivers p.61


Did the Papal Church arise in the populated countries of Europe? Yes!


Did the Papal Church receive a deadly wound that was later healed? Yes!

“The signing of the [Lateran] treaty restored to the pope the temporal sovereignty which had been taken away by Napoleon in 1798, and again by Italy in 1870. Once more he became king of a state as well as supreme pontiff of the church.” The Revelation p.173

“In affixing their autographs to the memorable document, healing the wound that festered since the 1700’s, extreme cordiality was displayed on both sides.” The San Francisco Chronicle Feb. 12, 1929


Is the whole world “wondering” after the Papal Church? Yes!

Just check the current news headlines!


Does the Papacy claim infallibility (that it doesn’t change)? Yes!

“We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable. So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.” Vatican Council, Sess. IV ,  Const. de Ecclesiâ Christi, Chapter iv


Does the Papal system speak pride and blasphemy? Yes!

Pope Leo XIII, The Reunion of Christendom, June 20, 1894:

We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”

“Pope,” Ferraris’ Ecclesiastic Dictionary:

“The Pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not a mere man, but as it were God, and the vicar of God.”

The Catholic National, July 1895:

"The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ, hidden under a veil of flesh."

Dissertations on the Prophecies, London: B. Blake, Bell-Yard, Temple-Bar, 1831, p. 456

"Our Lord God the pope; another God upon earth, king of kings, and lord of lords. The same is the dominion of God and the pope. To believe that our Lord God the pope might not decree, as he decreed, it were a matter of heresy. The power of the pope is greater than all created power, and extends itself to things celestial, terrestrial, and infernal. The pope doeth whatsoever he listeth [wills], even things unlawful, and is more than God


Does the Papal Church promote Greek philosophy and higher criticism? Yes!

“Pope Pius XII gave license to the new scholarship [higher criticism] in his encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu: "[T]extual criticism ... [is] quite rightly employed in the case of the Sacred Books ... Let the interpreter then, with all care and without neglecting any light derived from recent research, endeavor to determine the peculiar character and circumstances of the sacred writer, the age in which he lived, the sources written or oral to which he had recourse and the forms of expression he employed." Encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu, 1943. Wikipedia


Does the Roman Church display intolerance for those who obey God? Yes!

“It is only to show to the world that the Church of Rome of to-day is absolutely the same as when she reddened Europe with the blood of millions of martyrs." 50 Years in the Church of Rome by Charles Chiniquy pp. 594


Did the Papacy receive its power, seat, and authority from Pagan Rome? Yes!

“The dragon gave his seat, power and great authority to some other power represented by the following beast like a leopard. Rev.13:1-10. To what was the dragon's seat, ancient Rome, given up? Answer. To the papacy. The seat of empire was moved to Constantinople, and the bishop of Rome soon ascended in the city of Rome, a higher throne than her pagan emperors had ever occupied. Great power was given to him; or, in other words, supremacy was conferred upon him, by the decree of Justinian, emperor of the East, carried out in 538.”  1878 The Biblical Institute p.97



 Now notice that as Papal Rome is being “taken into captivity” (Rev. 13:10) which took place in 1798 when the French general Berthier captured the pope and put him into exile – that another beast/political power was rising into power (Rev. 13:11). This power instead of coming from a populated place, arises from the earth (which would be opposite of the sea).

What world power was rising into power sometime around 1798 in an “unpopulated” place?




 There is only one world power that fits that description – the United States of America that came into power in what was called the New World!

Now notice that this 2nd beast has 2 horns like a lamb but it speaks like a dragon.

Horns in the Bible represent strength (Ps. 18:2) and of course, the lamb represents Jesus Christ (John 1:29). So this country, the United States of America, has 2 things that are its power and strength that are characteristics of Jesus Christ – that would be the two principles that this nation was founded on – Civil and Religious Liberty!

But the text also says that it “speaks” as a dragon.

Now the ultimate “dragon” is Satan (Rev. 12:9) but he also works through people and powers that he can get under his control. That is why the dragon also represents Paganism.

 So this nation, built on Christ-like principles of Civil and Religious liberty, is going to display characteristics of the devil – and we see that developed in the next verses:

 

 

Rev 13:12-15  And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

Notice that the 2nd beast (United States) displays the same intolerance that the 1st beast (Papacy) did, and that it will pressure everyone to worship the 1st beast. Notice also that it finally gets to the point that those who refuse to go along with the demands of the 2nd beast are sentenced to be killed. This is religious persecution in the extreme!

Now that we know who the ‘beast’ is and who the ‘2nd beast’ is that will force people to worship the ‘1st beast’, all we have to do is to determine what the 1st beast’s “Mark” is. This is not a problem as this power freely admits what it’s “Mark” is – but we should first look at what the “Mark” is the opposite of (or should I say, the counterfeit of.)


In Revelation 14:9-12 we are warned not to have anything to do with the Mark of the Beast, that those who receive it will be destroyed by God, and verse 12 shows the contrast by revealing who doesn't receive the “Mark of the Beast” (those that “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”)

As you can see, the issue here is once again pointed out – do we obey God and have the faith of Jesus, or do we choose to worship Satan by following the commands of the beast power! Any departure from obedience to the Creator is an act of rebellion. If we choose to take anyone’s word over the Word of God; if we follow man’s commands instead of a “Thus saith the Lord” – then we are setting ourselves up for deception and the coming “Mark of the Beast!”

Both God and Satan have their sign or mark of authority. Which one will we choose to have?

As you will see, the Mark of the Beast is a specific issue, but on a secondary level, I believe that the principle of the Mark of the Beast test can be found in any issue where we take man’s word instead of God’s Word!


Notice that the “Mark of the Beast” is contrasted against obedience to “the commandments of God”!

Does the Law of God identify His mark or seal?

If you look at a ‘seal’ of any leader or official, you will see three components.

Their Name

Their Title

Their Territory


For example:

The Name  - Abraham Lincoln

The Title  - President

The Territory - United States of America

 

Do we see these components in the 10 Commandments?

If you go and read the 10 commandments in Exodus 20:1-17, you will notice that the first 3 commandments refer to God – but they do not identify who that “God” is. You will also notice that the last 6 commandments only talk about our duty to our fellow man.

But in the heart of the Law of God, in the 4th Commandment, we find the Seal of God!

Exodus 20:8-11  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.




 

His Name - The Lord

His Title - ‘Made’ = the Creator

His Territory - Heaven and Earth


 This places the 7th day Sabbath as the “Sign” or “Seal” of God.

Does God confirm this interpretation?

Exodus 31:13, 17  Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you…

It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.  (see also Ezekiel 20:12, 20)


The Hebrew word translated “sign” here is “Oath” and it literally means “Mark”.

The 7th day Sabbath is literally “God’s Mark” – it is the evidence that He is the Creator and the True God!

Think about this for a minute. We get our time period of a “day” from how long it takes the earth to make a complete rotation on its axis. We get our time period of the month from how long it takes the moon to make its complete rotation around the earth. We get the time period of our year by how long it takes the earth to make a complete circle around the sun.

So where do we get our 7 day week?

The only place we can trace that cycle is to the story of Creation. The weekly cycle was established by God Himself as He created this earth, and when He was finished with His creation – He sealed it with His Seal – the 7th day Sabbath.

Where do we get the Sabbath?

We get it based simply on God’s authority as the Creator and Law Giver – God said it, and that settles it.



 On the other hand, the devil wants to usurp God’s authority and he is in constant war against the Law of the Creator. His desire is to take the place of God (Isaiah 14:12-14).


As such, all powers that he can get under his control, will also be in direct rebellion against God and desire to “change” God’s laws (Daniel 7:25), especially the one that is related to time, since it is God’s special Seal!


Has the “beast” power done this?


  James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of our Fathers, 88th ed., pp. 89.

"But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify."


The Catholic Mirror, official publication of James Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.

"The Catholic Church, . . . by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday."


The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1957): 

“Q. Which is the Sabbath day?

A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.

Q. Why Do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”


Catholic Record (September 1, 1923):

“The [catholic] Church is above the Bible, and this transference of the Sabbath observance is proof of that fact.”


Priest Brady, in an address, reported in the Elizabeth, N.J., News of March 18, 1903:

“It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church.”


Our Sunday Visitor, Feb. 5, 1950
 
"Protestants ... accept Sunday rather than Saturday as the day for public worship after the Catholic Church made the change... But the Protestant mind does not seem to realize that ... in observing Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the Church, the pope." 


American Catholic Quarterly Review (January 1883):

“Sunday...is purely a creation of the Catholic Church.”


Catholic American Sentinel (June 1893):

“Sunday...It is a law of the Catholic Church alone...”


Letter from C.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons on October 28, 1895:

“Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act…And the act is a MARK of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters.”



So Sunday worship is 

the “Mark of the Beast”!

 

Just like the authority for the "7th day Sabbath" is based solely on the authority of our Creator God - the authority for "Sunday" worship is based solely on the authority of the beast power!

 

 But notice that the general implication of Revelation 13:15-17 is that this “Mark” is being forced on people. In other words, Sunday is the Mark of Rome’s authority, but it doesn’t take the prophetic stage until the 2nd beast, the United States, places laws in place to enforce its observance.

Are law makers becoming more inclined to favor enforcing Sunday worship? Are there any movements taking place in the legislative world to enforce a day of worship, namely Sunday?

 In other words, most people don’t know the issue about Sunday vs. Sabbath. They worship on Sunday because that is the tradition that they were taught and they honestly believe that is following the will of God. God understands this, and He judges them accordingly.

Acts 17:30  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

But the final test is on the horizon. The truth of the Sabbath vs. Sunday issue is coming to light. 

All men on earth will be tested, just as Adam and Eve were tested, to see if they will obey the Creator who says in John 14:15  "If ye love me, keep my commandments", or if they will instead follow the decrees and desires of men.



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